The Post Office should be run more like a business than a lot of government agencies. But it still has a need to serve everyone in a way business never would. The Tacoma News Tribune disagrees about any of that public service crap.
The world changes. Heaven forbid that the U.S. Postal Service should change with it.
You can go on the Internet and print stamps right now. You can then go over and schedule a pickup. Just like when Franklin made it! If only they would advance with the times.
The USPS is supposed to operate like a business – which includes adapting to the real world – but the U.S. Senate has again made certain that it operate as a vehicle for patronage and political pandering. It has just pressured the organization into abandoning an emergency-cost cutting plan to close hundreds of money-losing post offices and mail-sorting centers nationwide, including several offices in Pierce County and the processing center on Pine Street in Tacoma.
What business funds its pension obligations 75 years into the future? But, no, the post office doesn’t have to be run just like a business. If they were, they’d probably try to stop FedEx and UPS from using zip codes because they’re propriety. Stamps would probably be a significant amount more. And the Postmaster general would be paid in the 7 or 8 figures. The Post Office is a public good that’s very different from a business. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t hard choices: there are. It just means that the calculus is different than if it were a private business.
Result: The postal unions and the nation’s remaining snail mail fans are happy. And the Postal Service – which has been losing $25 million a DAY – will keep on running immense losses unless Congress permits it to restructure itself for the 21st century.
And a result of the bad economy. Businesses are shipping less to fewer locations. The Internet exists so people aren’t sending as much mail (although I still get plenty of mail, including junk mail and legit correspondence). I doubt other shipping interests are doing well either, but they don’t work in the public interest.
On hold, too, is the USPS plan to end Saturday mail delivery – another fossil from the age when snail mail was the only game in town. Ending that tradition would have saved the system – and ultimately the taxpayers – royal sums of money. It would also have antagonized the people who don’t the status quo to change, ever.
Fair enough, but there are real consequences if the post office doesn’t run on Saturdays. Also, does whoever wrote this think the taxpayers are on the hook for the Post Office? Because, that’s not how it works:
In 1982, U.S. postage stamps became “postal products,” rather than a form of taxation. Since then, The bulk of the cost of operating the postal system has been paid for by customers through the sale of “postal products” and services rather than taxes.
Each class of mail is also expected to cover its share of the costs, a requirement that causes the percentage rate adjustments to vary in different classes of mail, according the costs associated with the processing and delivery characteristics of each class.
So I guess the good news is that the Post Office is already run more like a business than this article calling for it to be run like a business thinks. Anyway, I’m getting bored, but I’ll give you a terrible metaphor.
Communities defend their post offices like Rottweilers, and they terrify members of Congress who otherwise wouldn’t spend a penny bailing out an archaic mail system.
Rottweilers are well known for defending post offices and terrifying members of Congress.